Thursday, October 30, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 30, 2014

* U.S.: According to a new Pew Research Center poll, Latino voter support of the Democratic Party has diminished slightly while more respondents believe that there is no difference between the Democrats and the rival Republican Party.

* Brazil: The Brazilian central bank rose interest rates as a possible sign that President Dilma Rousseff is seeking too woo investors spooked by her recent reelection.

* Dominican Republic: At least one person was killed during protests where demonstrators called for improvements to social services.

* Chile: 850 marijuana seeds were planted as part of a pilot program in a Santiago municipality to grow medical marijuana for cancer patients.

Video Source – AFP via YouTube 

Online Sources – Pew Hispanic Center; ABC News; BBC News; GlobalPost; The Latin Amercanist

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ongoing Protests in Solidarity with Missing Mexican Students (Updated)

University students in several parts of Mexico are protesting on Wednesday as part of a continuing push for the safe return of 43 young adults missing for more than a month.

At least one hundred protesters have taken control of several highways of access Mexico City today and have allowed motorists to avoid paying at the tollbooths. The demonstrators reportedly include pupils from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) and are calling for support of the students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero state who have disappeared since September 26th. 

In addition, students from the IPN and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) plan to take control of the radio stations to their respective schools and provide messages of support for the families of those missing.  Meanwhile, both teachers and students at one of the campuses of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM) have suspended classes today as part of their own protest.

Today’s events are part of three days of action planned by several universities with the aim of calling to justice those responsible for the missing students, defend public education and criticize state-sponsored violence.  Students, teachers and other demonstrators plan to march in Mexico City on Friday, for example.

On September 26th, were riding local buses back to their school in Ayotzinapa following a protest over job discrimination in Iguala.  That evening, armed men from the town of Iguala fired upon the buses and killed three passengers while others fled in terror.  Eyewitnesses claimed that local police shot at some of the escaping students while others were caught and bundled into police vehicles.

Daily Headlines: October 29, 2014

* Cuba: Another year, another overwhelming rejection of the U.N. General Assembly against the decades-long U.S. trade embargo on Cuba.

* Brazil: Will the reelection of Dilma Rousseff to the Brazilian presidency improve U.S.-Brazil diplomatic relations that have been fractured since last year?
* Colombia: A World Bank report found that Colombia is the best country in Latin America and Caribbean to do business in.

* Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition activist imprisoned since February, refused to appear in court this week as a sign of protest.

Video Source – Reuters via YouTube

Online Sources – Fox News Latino; Miami Herald; The Latin Americanist; ABC News

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 28, 2014

* Uruguay: The ruling Frente Amplio maintained its majority in the Uruguayan legislature, which could be very good news for Tabare Vazquez who is the odds on favorite to return to the presidency in November’s runoff election.

* Nicaragua: A new World Economic Forum report ranked Nicaragua as the world’s sixth best country in the world for gender equality and the best among Latin American and Caribbean states.

* Peru: The bodies of eighty victims of Peru’s Dirty War between the military and Shining Path rebels were returned to their families.

* Argentina: Daniel Filmus, the Argentine secretary regarding the Falkland Islands, blasted British efforts to allow for the offshore drilling of hydrocarbons near the contested archipelago.

Video Source – teleSUR English via YouTube

Online Sources – MercoPress; Inside Costa Rica; Bernama; The Guardian

Monday, October 27, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 27, 2014

* Dominican Republic: Top St. Louis Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras and his 18-year-old girlfriend died in a car crash yesterday near the ballplayer’s hometown in the Dominican Republic.

* Venezuela: The Venezuelan government backed down from plans to sell Citgo, which is valued at approximately $10 billion.

* Ecuador: A 22-year-old Ecudoran woman became the second person to die from an attack last Wednesday in the Israeli capital city of Jerusalem.

* Colombia: A U.S. federal judge last week sentenced a FARC commander to 27 years in prison for his role in the 2003 kidnapping of three U.S. citizens in Colombia.

Video Source – MLB via YouTube (Oscar Taveras followed his first rookie season in the majors by going 3-for-7 in the postseason including hitting a game-tying home run in the National League Championship Series).

Online Sources –; Bloomberg; NDTV; LAHT

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dilma Rousseff Reelected to Brazilian Presidency

President Dilma Rousseff has won Sunday's runoff election by a narrow margin ahead of opposition rival Senator Aécio Neves of the PDSB.

With 99.57% of the votes counted, Brazil's first female president garnered 51.59% of the votes versus 48.41% for the former governor.

Thank you very much!” tweeted a grateful Rousseff whose triumph means that the Workers' Party will command the presidency for a fourth straight term.

Even though the runoff was the tightest election since 1989, Rousseff rejected the notion that “these elections have divided our country in half”.

“Instead of broadening our differences, I have the strong hope that we can create the conditions to unite,” she added.

According to opinion polls Rousseff and Neves have been running neck to neck since the first round was held three weeks ago.  Most polls taken in recent days have given the incumbent a slight but growing advantage though a Senus survey published on Friday gave Neves a nine percent lead. (An October 13 Senus poll taken prior to his endorsement from ex-candidate Marina Silva had Neves up by double digits).

I fought the good fight,” noted Neves in a speech govern shortly after he called Rousseff to his conceded the election.  He also seemed to echo the victor’s remarks by noting, “The main priority is to unite Brazil and work on a project to dignify all Brazilians.”

Friday, October 24, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 24, 2014

* Haiti: Oral arguments began yesterday in a lawsuit filed in a U.S. court by Haitian victims of a cholera outbreak purportedly caused by U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal.

* Panama: Panama became the latest country from Latin American and the Caribbean to prohibit the entry of travelers from three West African states affected by a Ebola epidemic.

* Peru: Researchers found what had been described as “the world's highest known Ice Age settlements” located about 14,000 feet above sea level in southern Peru.

* Latin America: According to the U.N. foreign direct investment in  Latin America and the Caribbean declined by 23% in the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2013.

Video Source – Al Jazeera English via YouTube

Online Sources – Voice of America; GlobalPost; Reuters; Fox News Latino

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 23, 2014

* Honduras: According to the Red Cross, more than half a million people in Honduras are at risk of suffering from hunger due to a major regional drought that has decimated crops and raised the prices of food. 

* U.S.: Latino voters might “sit out” of next month’s midterm elections but they could make a key difference in several hotly contested races.

* Latin America: The ALBA-TCP bloc of Latin American and Caribbean nations called for a stronger effort to combat the Ebola outbreak from spreading beyond Western Africa.

* Brazil: Could the revelation today of an “unexpected” decline in the Brazilian unemployment rate last month affect the outcome of Sunday’s runoff election between Senator Aecio Neves and President Dilma Rousseff?

Video Source – CCTV America via YouTube

Online Sources – The Huffington Post; Los Angeles Times; Houston Chronicle; Miami Herald; Bloomberg

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 22, 2014

* Uruguay: Leading presidential opposition candidate Luis Lacalle Pou claimed that if he wins Sunday’s election he would repeal Uruguay’s landmark project to legally grow and sell marijuana.

* Puerto Rico: A U.S. federal district judge cited a 1972 Supreme Court ruling and upheld Puerto Rico’s ban on same-sex marriage.

* Venezuela: U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein called on Venezuelan authorities to free imprisoned politician Leopoldo Lopez.

* U.S.: U.S. immigration officials last week extended Temporary Protected Status benefits for an estimated 87,000 Honduran and Nicaraguan migrants until July 2016.

Video Source – teleSUR English via YouTube

Online Sources – NBC News; LAHT; ABC News; USA TODAY

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 21, 2014

* U.S.: Iconic Dominican-born fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died at the age of 82 reportedly due to cancer.

* Panama: Panamanian Supreme Court judge Alejandro Moncada was arrested and charged with money laundering and illicit enrichment.

* Argentina: An Argentine human rights group claimed that refugee status was given to a gay Russian man violently targeted due to his sexual orientation.

* Bolivia: Bolivia’s top electoral tribunal ratified President Evo Morales' victory in the presidential polls and gave the green light for him to rule for a third straight term.

Video Source – Associated Press via YouTube

Online Sources – JURIST; Variety; Zee News; Reuters

Monday, October 20, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 20, 2014

* Nicaragua: At least 24 people are dead and more than 33,000 are homeless as a result of heavy rain and flooding in areas of Nicaragua.

* Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff has apparently reversed a downturn in recent polls and is currently in a statistical dead heat with challenger Aécio Neves ahead of Sunday’s Brazilian presidential runoff election.

* Mexico: The World Trade Organization criticized the U.S. for not complying with a 2012 ruling to change meat labeling rules that were deemed discriminatory against Mexico and Canada.

* Uruguay: Will former president and current ruling party candidate Tabaré Vázquez earn an outright win in the October 26th general election or be forced into a second round next month?

Video Source – teleSUR English (Video uploaded on October 11, 2014).

Online Sources – NTDTV; NBC News; The Latin Americanist; Reuters; Buenos Aires Herald

Friday, October 17, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 17, 2014

* Argentina: Officials in the city of Santa Fe started a three-month ban on all sales of guns and ammunition in order to curb a “surge in violent crime reflected in 117 homicides so far this year.”

* Caribbean: Jamaica, Haiti and at least two other Caribbean countries have instituted travel bans against visitors from three African countries most affected by an Ebola outbreak while Colombia has reportedly been the only state to donate to a U.N. fund to combat the disease.

* Brazil: Police in Brazil were said to have captured a self-confessed serial killer who claimed the lives of thirty-nine people over three years.

* Venezuela: Venezuela was elected to a two-year post on the U.N. Security Council after it ran unopposed for the single seat assigned to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Video Source – AFP via YouTube (Video uploaded in 2010).

Online Sources – BBC News; Colombia Reports; LAHT; Time; The Guardian

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 16, 2014

* U.S.: Prolific Latina television and film actress Elizabeth Peña died at the age of 55 reportedly due to natural causes.

* Venezuela: Venezuela’s president alleged that a Colombian paramilitary group helped carry out the murder of ruling legislator Robert Serra and his companion Maria Herrera.

* Peru: According to the Peruvian government 1000 high-altitude lakes have appeared in the country since 1980 from glaciers melting due to climate change.

* Argentina: A Morgan Stanley report released this week concluded that Argentina “could become the next big thing in shale oil.”

Video Source – YouTube user GeniusInMotionInc (Recently deceased actress Elizabeth Peña participated in numerous movies and TV series including “La Bamba,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” “Modern Family” and “American Dad”.)

Online Sources – The Huffington Post; Reuters; ABC News; Business Insider

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 15, 2014

* Latin America: Twenty-five Latin American and Caribbean countries signed an agreement pledging to abolish child labor throughout the region.

* Brazil: Are Brazilian presidential polls like the recent one that put challenger Aécio Neves ahead of incumbent Dilma Rousseff “inaccurate and misleading”?

* Colombia: Proceedings began this week in a British court where more than one hundred Colombian farmers are suing BP over alleged environmental damages.

* Mexico: A new survey in Mexico found that over half of respondents cut down on the consumption of sugary beverages after a new tax on soft drinks went into effect.

Video Source – International Labour Organization via YouTube (Video from 2005).

Online Sources – The Guardian; LAHT; Xinhua; BBC News; The Latin Americanist

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 14, 2014

* South America: An Italian judge ruled that twenty-one officials from former military dictatorships in four South American countries should be put on trial for their alleged role in Operation Condor.

* Bolivia: Newly reelected President Evo Morales promised to not enact anymore major nationalizations and claimed that he will pursue “realistic, practical” economic policies.

* Venezuela: The U.N. Human Rights Council called on Venezuelan authorities to “immediately release” imprisoned opposition politician Leopoldo López.

* Mexico: Two gunmen murdered a Sonoran activist and radio show host while he was presenting his program live on the air.

Video Source – YouTube user JourneymanVOD

Online Sources –; Reuters; MercoPress; The Guardian

Monday, October 13, 2014

Poll: Brazil Opposition Rival Ahead of Rousseff

With less than two weeks to go to the Brazilian president runoff, legislator Aécio Neves appears to be increasingly likely that he will upset incumbent Dilma Rousseff.

Neves leads Rousseff 52.4% to 36.7% according to a Sensus poll of 2000 people that was released today.  The double-digit advantage marks the first time Neves has been ahead in the polls since the October 4th first round of elections that Rousseff won but did not receive a majority that would’ve given her an outright victory. (A pair of surveys released last Thursday showed that he and Rousseff where in a statistical dead heat).

Six weeks ago, polls indicated that Neves would obtain a distant third place finish in the first round yet the former governor has enjoyed a recent surge in the polls.  His representation as a candidate of one of Brazil’s most powerful opposition parties (PDSB) along with his campaign promises to combat corruption and improve the economy appear to resonate heavily with potential voters.

The Sensus poll was conducted last week prior to his endorsement from Marina Silva, the former environment minister who finished in third in the first round.  Silva’s support could provide Neves with an even greater boost in the run-up to the runoff on the 26th of the month.

“From now on, we are one body, one project in favor of Brazil and the Brazilians,” declared Neves yesterday following the endorsement from Silva.

“I trust in the sincerity of the proposals of the candidate and his party, and I give to the Brazilian society the task to see that they are fulfilled,” said Silva whose economic campaign proposals were similar to Neves though both disagreed on gay marriage and marijuana legalization.